During the Covid 19 pandemic, changes to work-life, social life and access to medical care can lead to increased feelings of worry, stress and anxiety
You are already working hard to keep stress at bay and in addition are also navigating the often-stressful fertility treatment journey during the first major pandemic of our lifetime.
Despite all the stress that the pandemic brings, there are natural ways to help manage your stress and anxiety during COVID-19.
Colette Assor BAcC registered acupuncturist and shares her top natural tips to help manage stress and anxiety
Get a good night’s sleep
While prioritizing sleep isn’t always easy, it’s essential for well-being.
if anxiety or depression is affecting your sleep, consider limiting your caffeine, social media before bed, creating a bedtime routine, and finding a relaxing activity — like reading, journaling, or listening to quiet music — to slow your brain down before bed.
Exercise is also a great remedy for sleep, make sure you are getting out for at least a short walk each day. Avoid watching the news or looking at excessive social media during the evening. Going to bed with anxious thoughts is likely to affect your sleep and make you feel even worse
Keep a routine
Sticking to a routine for sleep, mealtimes, exercise, and work can help manage stress.
Studies tell us that when we keep to a schedule during traumatic or stressful times, we cope better. Set intentions for the day, this will help with focus, a mindful start to the day will help alleviate stress and improve focus. A good morning routine can be some yoga/pilates, 5 minutes mindful breathing meditation and a gratitude list.
Mindfulness is the art of living in the present moment and being aware of our thoughts, feelings and environment. Neuroscience has shown that the regular practise of mindfulness can reduce worry, stress and improve wellbeing. The art of mindfulness is to live in the now, worry about several things at once can interfere with the ability to live in the present moment. Research shows that mindfulness can help reduce anxiety and depression. Mindfulness teaches us how to respond to stress with awareness of what is happening in the present moment, rather than simply acting instinctively, unaware of what emotions or motives may be driving that decision. Mindfulness is about paying attention to daily life and the things we typically rush through. It’s about reducing the volume in your mind by coming back to the body.
Meditation is a practical tool to help cultivate mindfulness. Mindful meditation helps us to understand that feelings are not necessarily facts, and thoughts are temporary experiences. There are some great meditation apps, calm is the one I recommend to my patients as it has a wide variety of meditations for each situation/emotion you may be experiencing at that moment. @calm app. Regular meditation will help you stay calmer, more focused and less reactive to your thoughts and feelings.
Some people when very stressed or anxious may find it hard to sit still and meditate. I would then suggest some mindful exercise, a walk in the park or if you are unable to leave the house mindful exercise at home. Nature is a great way to improve wellbeing. Spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems including anxiety and depression. A small amount of exercise releases chemicals in the brain that automatically improve mood. Regular exercise can still be beneficial for your mental health, even if it’s something as simple as going for a walk each day or taking 5 minutes to stretch or do some yoga poses.
In 2018 a research study on acupuncture for IVF and ICS indicated that Acupuncture treatment can reduce stress and anxiety during the IVF process. It is important to make sure you see a fully qualified and registered professional. The British Acupuncture Council ( BAcC) is the UK’s Leading regulatory body of Acupuncturists. All BAcC members are listed on the register of the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.
Aromatherapy is the clinical use of essential oils to promote health and well-being. The oils may be inhaled directly or added to a warm bath or diffuser. Research shows aromatherapy can:
help you relax
help you sleep
Some essential oils used to relieve anxiety are:
The power of Gratitude and positive affirmations
Positive affirmations are very powerful tools to release you from worry, fear and negativity. In addition to increasing feel good chemicals: dopamine and serotonin, gratitude can strengthen the mind body connection. Shifting mind set and writing a daily gratitude list can help reduce stress and improve low mood.
Feelings aren’t facts
There is no end to the amount of feeling (both positive and negative) that flows through our lives on a daily basis; the solution is to learn how to differentiate between anxious thoughts of worry and those that are real. If something feels bad, that doesn’t mean it is bad. Things might seem hopeless when you’re feeling low, but don’t always follow your emotions.
Instead, learn to distinguish an emotion from a fact. Stand back from your feelings and assess the thoughts driving them.
Whether you’re living with stress, worry or anxiety, the message is the same: don’t believe everything you feel. Feelings aren’t always facts
Colette Assor is an experienced BAcC registered acupuncturist practising in Finchley and Hendon North London, more information about Colette and her work can be found here:
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